How Poverty Impacts Children’s Mental Health: DePaul University Forum

impact of poverty on mental health of children
DePaul University/Ryan Johnson

Educator Erin Mason, other experts to discuss topic May 2

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–April 29, 2013.  Children living in poverty with mental health issues may adopt a negative worldview and be marginalized by society, according to a DePaul University education scholar.

“Our society continues to promote strong negative stigma around economic need and around mental health issues,” said Erin Mason, an assistant professor in human services and counseling in DePaul’s College of Education.

“For the child who experiences both, this is a double whammy and can significantly impact his or her sense of self-worth and belonging, especially if compared to children who experience neither,” she said.

Additionally, lack of access to quality mental health care services specifically for children is one of the biggest obstacles for those living in poverty, said Mason, a former middle school counselor who is president of the Illinois School Counselor Association.

“Because access to services is problematic, children living in poverty are at greater risk of experiencing delays or gaps in their mental health development, having early warning signs of mental health issues overlooked, having issues left untreated for too long, not treated at all, or all of the above,” she noted.

Mason will be part of a panel of education practitioners who will discuss the interconnections between poverty and children’s social and emotional well-being at a May 2 DePaul College of Education forum titled “Kids At Risk: The Impact of Poverty on Children’s Mental Health.”

Other panelists include Gregory Jones, principal of Kenwood High School; Shelby T. Wyatt, school counselor at Kenwood High School; Patricia Rivera, former elementary school social worker and manager of programs for homeless students, Chicago Public Schools; and Lissette Guzman, counselor at Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.  

The forum runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 314 of the DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. For more information, visit